Tuesday 12 January 2016

Hundreds of cold-stunned young sea turtles rescued from frigid North Carolina waters by Brett Smith

JANUARY 12, 2016

With its wild temperature swings and unusual mild spells, this winter has caught many of us off guard—including, it seems, a massive cluster of sea turtles.

According to a CNN report, about 600 juvenile turtles swimming off the North Carolina coast were literally stunned by a sudden drop in water temperature. A phenomenon that can occur in shallow waters, a quick drop in temperatures induces a condition in sea turtles similar to hypothermia."These guys should be in the 70 degree temperatures, and they were down in the 50s," Michele Lamping, an aquarist at North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

When a turtle becomes cold stunned, it quits swimming and floats with the current. Some turtles wind up on shore, some die, and some fall victim to predators.

Rescuers captured more than 600 turtles in two days; 450 were delivered to North Carolina's three aquariums while others were sent to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City, NC.

"Keep these little ones in your thoughts and send them positive energy. Many didn't make it, but most are fighting to live," the rehab center said via its Facebook page.

Claire Aubel, a spokeswoman with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, told CNN that 200 turtles will be released Friday, probably near the Georgia-Florida border. Most of the rescued turtles were green sea turtles, some were loggerhead turtles, and a few were Kemp's ridley turtles.

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